Daily Archives: May 13, 2022

Empty Chairs in the Vermont House

Note: In the few hours since I posted this piece, even more retirements have been made public. I have written a separate post with the new names; read it here.

The state House has 15 standing policy committees. One-third of them, at minimum, will have new chairs next session.

First to announce departure was Government Operations Chair Sarah Copeland Hanzas, now running for Secretary of State.

Then, as the 2022 session was in its closing days, four influential chairs announced their retirements. Health Care’s Bill Lippert, Human Services’ Ann Pugh, Education’s Kate Webb, and most recently, Ways & Means’ Janet Ancel. That’s a huge amount of experience to lose all at once. And we may have more retirements announced in coming days, as the May 26 filing deadline for major-party candidates is less than two weeks away.

You know, I wrote a piece last summer about how the Senate had a huge seniority issue. At the time, the average senator was 63.4 years old. And the average age of committee chairs was a remarkable 72.1. Some wires must have gotten crossed because clearly the message was delivered to the House, not the Senate.

How much experience is the House losing? Let us count the years.

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